Buckfield board adopts ethics, conduct policies

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BUCKFIELD — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night reviewed policies on conduct and ethics by officers, employees and others serving the town, and authorized Town Manager Glen Holmes to formalize them.

The Code of Ethics establishes standards for selectmen, employees and members of appointed boards and committees. They must avoid the appearance of improper influence by giving fair and impartial consideration. They also should not hold investments in any business or have personal relationships that may be in conflict with their official duties.

No gifts should be accepted that may be inferred to influence their performance of their official duties, the code states. Those serving the town are expected to maintain public confidence and to fully discharge their duties.

Board Chairman John Lowell said the Code of Ethics, which is based on Maine law, covered the Code of Conduct so he wanted that added as an appendix to the Code of Ethics. He did not get the support of the board.

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Selectman Chip Richardson said that the Code of Conduct spelled out unacceptable conduct and should stand alone.

Selectman Eileen Hotham agreed.

The Code of Conduct includes 21 actions that are not considered to be professional and would not be tolerated and would result in immediate termination. It was accepted with one amendment, which said employees or appointees could not bring firearms, intoxicating beverages or illegal drugs into town buildings. The previous wording said premises.

The Town Review Policy is meant to insure that all boards and committees are fully aware of the current policies at the start of each fiscal year.

In other business at the meeting, Holmes said the Budget Committee wanted the spending plan for the coming fiscal year to not increase from this year.

Richardson said the municipal budget should increase a little each year so the town would be ready for a large school increase in five years.

Warren Wright of the Budget Committee proposed to take $36,000 out of the fund balance and not raise the town’s share of taxes. After considerable discussion, majority of the board voted to take the money out of the fund balance and keep taxes from rising.

Holmes said the school and county tax would increase taxes.

He asked the board’s direction on whether to increase the rescue chief’s stipend or make that a full-time paid position.

“Chief Lisa Buck has been doing far beyond her duties and has gotten several grants,” Holmes said.

It was decided to put $10,000 more in the budget under the chief’s salary. 

Road Foreman Phil Savage said the sand/salt shed is finished except for the electrical work.

Holmes said the town has spent $128,000 on it.

It was noted that the next wind turbine hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 15.

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